There was a petition handed into the town hall this week asking that the town be allowed to vote on this year’s budget. I for one fully supported the petition. It allows all residents the right to vote what they feel is right for themselves during these uncertain times. There is misinformation out there that I would like to address.
I heard that the cost to allow us to vote on the referendum costs $50,000. The town sets aside, year after year, $13,000 to cover the cost of a special election. That amount is set aside because that is the cost of a special election. We have not had a special election for approximately 10 years so we have plenty in the special election budget to cover the cost even if it was $50,000.
Another comment, which is misleading, was the school committee is giving the town their savings stemming from the coronavirus this year. What was proposed, and approved by the town council and the school committee, was the school committee was going to give the town their savings and in turn the town would give them their requested increase.
What this does is gives the school system a higher budget figure to start with next year. The difference between the referendum proposal and the school budget deal is the taxpayer will end up paying more.
If the school committee just keeps their savings and not give it to the town then the school budget will start 2% lower next year. In either scenario the kids are fully funded. So my feeling is let the school keep their savings and allow the taxpayer to save money.
Another concern was that the school committee didn’t know what to expect this coming year. I’m assuming they are talking about whether the school will be on line again or going back to school. If the schools open then the budget is already covering the costs of education. If they remain closed and on line schooling takes place again then the school will see comparable savings as they are seeing now. The total savings at this point is up to $2,000,000.
In my opinion let’s keep the deal simple AND straightforward. This isn’t some multi-billion dollar acquisition deal where giving money back and forth is done for tax purposes.